Cypress Oil comes from several species of coniferous evergreens in the Cupressaceae botanical family, whose members are naturally distributed throughout warmer temperate and subtropical regions of Asia, Europe, and North America. Known for their dark foliage, round cones, and small yellow flowers, Cypress trees typically grow to be around 25-30 meters (roughly 80-100 feet) tall, notably growing in a pyramidal shape, particularly when they are young.
Cypress trees are speculated to have originated in ancient Persia, Syria, or Cyprus and to have been brought to the Mediterranean region by Etruscan tribes. Among the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, Cypress acquired connotations with the spiritual, becoming symbolic of death and mourning. As these trees stand tall and point heavenward with their characteristic shape, they also came to symbolize immortality and hope; this can be seen in the Greek word 'Sempervirens', which means 'lives forever' and which forms part of the botanical name of a prominent Cypress species used in oil production. The symbolic value of this tree's oil was recognized in the ancient world as well; the Etruscans believed it could ward off the smell of death just as they believed the tree could ward off demons and often planted it around burial sites. A sturdy material, Ancient Egyptians used Cypress wood to carve out coffins and adorn sarcophagi, while the Ancient Greeks used it to carve statues of the gods. All over the ancient world, carrying a Cypress branch was a wide used sign of respect for the dead.
Throughout the Middle Ages, Cypress trees continued to be planted around grave sites in representation of both death and the immortal soul, though their symbolism became more closely aligned with Christianity. Continuing throughout the Victorian era, the tree maintained its associations with death and continued to be planted around cemeteries in both Europe and the Middle East.
Today, Cypress trees are popular ornamentals, and their wood has become a prominent building material known for its versatility, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Cypress Oil has likewise become a popular ingredient in alternative remedies, natural perfumery, and cosmetics. Depending on the variety of Cypress, its essential oil can be yellow or dark blue to bluish green in color and has a fresh woody aroma. Its aromatic nuances may be smoky and dry or earthy and green.
Cypress has been well known for its therapeutic benefits throughout history, going as far back as the time of the Ancient Greeks when Hippocrates is said to have used its oil in his bath to support healthy circulation. Cypress has been used in traditional remedies in multiple parts of the world to treat pain and inflammation, skin conditions, headaches, colds, and coughs, and its oil remains a popular ingredient in many natural formulations addressing similar ailments. Cypress Essential Oil is additionally known to have applications as a natural preservative for food and pharmaceuticals. The main chemical constituents of some prominent varieties of Cypress Essential Oil include alpha-Pinene, delta-Carene, Guaiol, and Bulnesol.
ALPHA-PINENE is known to:
DELTA-CARENE is known to:
GUAIOL is known to:
BULNESOL is known to:
Used in aromatherapy, Cypress Essential Oil is known for its strong woodsy scent, which is known to help clear airways and promote deep, relaxed breathing. This aroma is further reputed to have an energizing and refreshing influence on the mood while helping to keep the emotions grounded. When included in an aromatherapy massage, it is known to support healthy circulation and confers an especially soothing touch that has made it popular in blends addressing tired, restless, or aching muscles. Used topically, Cypress Essential Oil is known to be purifying and to help improve the appearance of acne and blemishes, making it especially suitable for inclusion in cosmetic formulations intended for oily skin. Also known as a powerful astringent, Cypress Essential Oil makes a great addition to toning products to tighten the skin and impart a sense of invigoration. Cypress Oil's pleasant aroma has made it a popular essence in natural deodorants and perfumes, shampoos and conditioners – particularly masculine varieties.
Depending on the variety, Cypress trees may thrive in a range of different environments and growing conditions. In general, they prefer temperate to warm climates and are considerably hardy trees, known to thrive in nutrient poor soil and to be highly resilient against disease and pollution. Incidentally – in tune with their symbolic associations with immortality – wild growing Cupressus sempervirens L (Mediterranean Cypress) trees can live over a thousand years, with one specimen in Iran reputed to be roughly 4000 years old!
As ornamentals, Cypress trees' adaptability help them to survive in a variety of circumstances, although they are more likely to thrive with regular pruning and with the use of mulch around their young roots – this serves both to protect them from the cold during winter, and to safeguard them against encroaching weeds.
Cypress Essential Oil is steam distilled from the needles and leaves or from the wood and bark, depending on the variety of tree used to obtain it. Two prominent varieties are the Mediterranean Cypress and the Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica), which is native to Australia.
Mediterranean Cypress produces an essential oil that is yellowish to yellow in color and of a light to medium consistency. This oil is obtained from the needles and leaves of the tree's foliage. Due to chemical reactions that occur between the various compounds in its wood and bark during distillation, Blue Cypress produces an oil that is dark blue to bluish-green, as per its name. The oil produced by this Cypress variety has a very low viscosity.
Cypress Oil adds a wonderfully woodsy aromatic appeal to a natural perfumery or aromatherapy blend and is a captivating essence in a masculine fragrance. It is known to blend well with other woody oils such as Cedarwood, Juniper Berry, Pine, Sandalwood, and Silver Fir for a fresh forest formulation. It is also known to combine nicely with spicy Cardamom and resinous Frankincense or Myrrh for a strong, sensual synergy. For more variety in blending, Cypress also combines very well with oils of Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Myrtle, Orange, Rose, Rosemary, or Tea Tree.
You can make a quick and easy refreshing massage blend by adding 2 to 6 drops of Cypress Essential Oil to two teaspoons of a preferred carrier oil. Rub this simple blend into preferred areas of the body and breathe in its scent to open the airways and perk up the skin with a renewed sense of energy. This blend is also suitable for use in an invigorating bath to add a purifying influence.
For a massage to help tone and tighten the skin and improve the appearance of cellulite, blend 10 drops of Cypress, 10 drops of Geranium, and 20 drops of Orange essential oils together with 60 ml (2 oz) each of Wheat Germ and Jojoba carrier oils. For a complementary bath oil, blend 3 drops each of Cypress, Orange, and Lemon essential oils with 5 drops of Juniper Berry oil. Take two baths and do two massages per week combined with regular exercise for best results. You can also make a massage blend composed of 4 drops of Cypress, 3 drops of Grapefruit, 3 drops of Juniper Berry, and 2 drops of Lemon essential oils with 30 ml of Sweet Almond oil to promote smoother and firmer looking skin.
You can make a blend to help manage stressful feelings by combining 25 drops each of Cypress, Grapefruit, and Mandarin essential oils with 24 drops each of Cinnamon Leaf, Marjoram, and Petitgrain essential oils, 22 drops each of Birch Sweet, Geranium Bourbon, Juniper Berry, and Rosemary essential oils, and 20 drops each of Anise Seed, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Dalmation Sage, and Spearmint essential oils. Dilute this blend well with Walnut or Sweet Almond oil before using a small amount in a relaxing massage. For best results, do 4 massages spaced two weeks apart; repeat this series once if desired then wait 8 months before repeating again.
For a bath blend to help address feelings of fatigue and promote feelings of invigoration instead, combine 30 drops each of Cypress, Galbanum, and Summer Savory essential oils with 36 drops each of Tagetes and Carrot Seed essential oils, and 38 drops of Bitter Almond oil. Add to this mixture 3 cups of apple cider vinegar and add to a bathtub full of warm water. Coat the body with Rosehip oil before entering the bath. For best results, do 7 baths spaced 7 days apart and wait 7 weeks before repeating.
For a simple boost to your usual beauty routines, add a couple drops of Cypress Essential Oil to your usual facial scrubs or toners, or to your favorite shampoo or conditioner for a cleansing, balancing and toning influence on the skin and scalp.
|VARIETY, BOTANICAL NAME & COUNTRY OF ORIGIN||PLANT PART & MAIN CONSTITUENTS||AROMATIC CHARACTER||REPUTED AROMATHERAPY & COSMETIC BENEFITS|
Cypress Blue Essential Oil
Bark and wood
Woody, smoky, and dry middle note with a medium-bodied aroma.
Cypress Organic Essential Oil
(Cupressus sempervirens L)
Needles and Leaves
Woody, fresh, and green top note with a mild to medium-bodied aroma that resembles Pine.
If you find yourself wooed by the woodsy fresh scent of fine forest essences, have a look at our articles on Cedarwood Essential Oil and Pine Essential Oil for more ideas on how to make a crisply coniferous aromatherapy or cosmetic blend. To see the forest for the trees, be sure to browse our product pages where you will find a variety of essential oils to suit your every mood and preference!
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, Cypress Essential Oil is for external use only. Due to the highly concentrated nature of Cypress Essential Oil, it must be diluted with a carrier oil prior to topical use. We recommend consulting a medical practitioner prior to using this product for therapeutic purposes, particularly for those who are pregnant, nursing, or who have a pre-existing medical condition.
Possible side effects from use of Cypress Essential Oil include headaches or nausea from inhalation, and skin irritation or allergic reaction from topical use. To avoid such reactions, it is recommended to perform a skin patch test prior to using this oil topically and not to exceed recommended concentrations for aromatherapeutic use. To perform the skin patch test, dilute 1 drop of Cypress Essential Oil in 4 drops of carrier oil and apply a dime-sized amount of the blend to a small area of skin that is not known to be sensitive. In the event of an adverse reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a medical healthcare professional for appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, it is best to consult with a physician prior to use.
Cypress Essential Oil must not be used near the eyes, inner nose, ears or on any areas of the skin that are known to be sensitive. This product should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, particularly those under the age of 7.